Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Reset Experience - New Club in Barcelona!

The clubs in Barcelona are always reinventing themselves. I often get asked which are the best clubs in Barcelona, and although I've been off the circuit for a while, I almost always answer that it's not the place but the people you're with. Some of the best nights I've had out in Barcelona have been the least "planned" and just a place we've ended up. In the same way, New Year's Eve is almost always the biggest let down of a night out (I learned this many years ago, and adjusted my plans each year!).

There are, however, some pretty special places which I hold dear when it comes to clubs in Barcelona. La Terrrazza is one of them (about 11/12 years ago, of course), The old Matinee afters down on the Port Olympic, Octupussy had its charm, and Discotheque always used to blow my friends away when they came to visit. It's had a few dodgy makeovers since then, and this Friday, there's a new inauguration of the new space -. now called reset experience.

The location is something a bit special, set in Poble Espanyol - a purpose built Spanish Village on the side of Montjuïc representing different architecture of the cities around Spain. During the day, it has artsy-crafty things going on, gincanas for the kids, puppet festivals, well, you get the idea. But at night, it's a special place to go, wandering the quiet stone streets past the plaça principal, to the corner into the local of what used to be discotheque.

So, by the looks of things from the youtube trailer above, and the website itself, things are very hush hush, and it'll be up to the revelers to test the waters and give the opinions. There are a few cool teaser photos on the Facebook page to get you in the mood, and there's a free bus from Plaça Catalunya from  midnight onwards, if you fancy it. Anyone going? Let me know in the comments!!

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Rollerblading in Barcelona - Palau Sant Jordi

 Technically, this could be titled Rollerblading with kids as it's a family activity that we do, but mainly geared towards the kids. It started last year, after we took them to the ice rink at Christmas two years ago. It's been a post I've had as a draft for absolutely ages, and just keep not getting round to publishing!!
Paved area outside Palau Sant Jordi - Barcelonasights blog

It's well known that Barcelona is a great city for wheels of the non-motorised variety - hundreds of skateboarders descend on the city each year and the lax laws and slight gradient the city is on makes it a perfect place to practise tricks and shoot videos.
Barcelona Sights Blog - rollerblading
So it's natural that skating also fits the bill. There are plenty of associations and events that revolve around skating (both inline and traditional) and even just two weeks ago there was a roller disco kind of event at Sant Antoni festival, but I wanted to focus here more on the wee ones. Obviously, before I go any further, I'd like to remind everyone - young or old -to always wear proper protection. Knee and elbow pads, wrist guards and a good helmet are a must, people (as shown by my fashionable lad here in the photos).
barcelonasights blog - rollerblading outside the olympic stadium
As a family, we've tried a few places to skate which I'll be adding to the blog bit by bit (when I remember to take photos of the places we go!) but so far, I don't think you can beat just in front of Palau Sant Jordi.
flagstones and concrete posts - barcelonasights blog

There are so many advantages to skating here, it's a really tough one to beat. First of all, it's huge. Literally, these pictures don't do it justice at all, and there are actually three different spaces you can skate on, all joined together but on slightly different levels. You can see from the snaps, that the place is almost entirely covered with smooth pinky flag stones, so great for beginners but still "urban" enough to practice (there are plenty of broken ones and drains to navigate). You can also see the decorative posts in the above pic, which are great for training the kids on curves/slalom and just getting them to practise changing direction in short spaces.

expansive flat areas ideal for skaters - barcelonasights

Another massive advantage is that you can almost always find a car parking space right outside for free, so if you are going in a car, there's no need to worry about that. I say almost always, unless there's a daytime event inside the Palau, or nearby Olympic Stadium. And even if you decide to take public transport, it's a quick hop up from Plaça Espanya on the escalators, or there are bus routes too which stop right outside. 

It never gets crowded  - just occasional tourists who come to admire the views towards the airport, or close ups of the telefonica needle. There is also a great ramp to one side of the Olympic stadium which is great to practice on and get used to different inclines and gradients. Perhaps the biggest advantage though - and remember I'm always thinking of the kids here - is that there's absolutely zero traffic. You don't have to worry at all about someone straying off, or not being able to stop at a traffic light or junction!! 

And while you're there, you can get some pretty snazzy shots of the Barcelona skyline, too, like this one below! 

needle and posts outside Palau Sant Jordi

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Late Photos of Reyes 2013 !

OK, I know I'm really late with this one, and we're well into the new year - hell, some kids' toys have probably already broken or ran out of batteries! It's just that I've never posted photos of the cabalgata dels Reis before, so wanted to at least put up a few pics for those readers who don't live in Barcelona and didn't get the chance to go or watch it on the TV.

It's a huge deal in Barcelona - like the kids' Christmas Eve for the rest of us - and the whole city stops to watch the parade, which starts down at the port with the mayor receiving the Kings (on a boat no less) before they begin their journey through the town preceded by loads of floats representing the different parts of the tale.

Kids write letters to the Kings in a similar way that they do to Santa Claus, and there are people collecting those late-comers with nets and post boxes - there's even a miniature sorting office of the postal service!

Obviously the 3 Kings of the East are accompanied by typical costumes, with some fantastic dancers and models of animals (not all photographed here by a long shot) along with cool toys or coal if you don't go to bed by midnight.

And all along the way, the participants in the floats and those surrounding them are throwing sweets out to everyone. It does get a little manic with sweets literally "raining down" on people - a couple of little babies near us were crying at the shock/emotion of it all!

It's great fun, and some people are so well prepared with stepladders adorning the corners of the streets in Eixample where we were, for example. I remember the first year going, seeing people wandering the streets all the way from Raval with stepladders thinking "what the hell is he doing at half past six on Reyes, with a stepladder?!" only to realise later, they're the best prepared for the little ones!

Happy (belated) New Year everyone and my sincere best wishes to everyone  - I hope this year is better than 2012 in every way, even though it all points to maybe not being the case. Be happy, be healthy, and be good.
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